There’s nothing so terrifying as a giant leap into the unknown, unless it’s a push over the precipice. On November 30, 2015, I lost my job.

I saw it coming. My client—the company’s second largest—announced their intention of moving to another management company. In all honesty, I didn’t blame the client. Company policy restricted employees to the point of ineffectual passivity and crushed morale. Knowing of the client’s imminent departure, I embarked upon an intense job hunt.

To no avail.

Management, for all their many faults, read the writing on the wall, too. They shoved me out the door without ceremony. Although prepared, I was still shocked and hurt, especially when I learned they’d already hired my replacement (who quit less than six months later). The client association’s president called me at home and expressed her displeasure over the termination of my employment and a glowing letter of recommendation. That offered small comfort.

Following my husband’s kind advice, I took a week to relax and emotionally decompress before applying for unemployment compensation and renewing the job hunt. Over the next several months I managed to snag some interviews, but nothing panned out. Instead, I solicited my service as a freelance writer and editor. Slowly, slowly, the work began to trickle in—-enough to give hope, not enough to pay for weekly groceries. I cannot over-emphasize how supportive he has been; I am blessed in that man.

The job hunt gave way to a part-time gig that I still hold, although I now consider myself a full-time freelancer…er…content consultant.

That shove off the edge of a regular salary proved frightening, even though my husband’s steady employment offered a generous parachute to soften the landing. I’ve been able to ease my way into a freelance career, because my husband’s employment (and six months of unemployment compensation) allowed me to land softly rather than splatter and shatter on the sharp rocks of financial ruin.

So, now I fly. Okay, I hop, skip, and jump with occasional moments of glorious suspension. But those moments make the long hours of unpaid and poorly paid work worth the time and effort. I learn as I go. I find myself grateful for the good clients. The not-so-good clients get the same competent and prompt service, but without the willingness to go over and above the contractual obligations.

I leaped because I was pushed and I’ve never been happier with my career. Too bad it took almost 30 years to get here.

So, to my last employer: Thanks for the shove out the door. I needed that.